Cumbria Crack

Man tells jury he was not part of Cumbria “burgling team”

Carlisle Crown Court

A MAN has told a jury he was not part of a “burgling team” which targeted commercial sites in two Cumbrian towns.

Sean Owen McDonald, 49, is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court, and denies nine charges.

Five allege theft, two allege going equipped for theft with wire-cutters and a hacksaw, one alleges burglary and another alleges attempted theft.

All allege that McDonald was involved as four business compounds in Penrith and one in Kendal were illegally entered by intruders on four separate nights in December, 2016.

Many thousands of pounds worth of property was stolen and damage caused.

From one Penrith site police recovered a pair of wire-cutters. A hacksaw was found close to the point of entry at the Kendal compound.

Forensic analysis of both items showed McDonald’s DNA was on both items. A jury has heard the likelihood of it not being his DNA was estimated to be “one in one billion”.

Giving evidence this afternoon (WED), McDonald told of his life’s work in the scrap metal trade, and how he moved from Carlisle to Middlesbrough in 2013 for a “new life”. Prior to that he had, jurors have heard, accumulated a host of convictions for burglaries and thefts.

“When I left Carlisle, I never went back to it,” he said of his “old life”.

Asked by his barrister Andrew Nixon for an explanation as to why tools bearing his DNA came to be found in Penrith and Kendal, McDonald replied: “I don’t have one.”

During cross-examination, he said it was possible the tools once belonged to him and were either stolen or lost.

Prosecutor Tim Evans suggested: “You were part of the (Cumbria) burgling team.”

McDonald, of Clapham Green, Middlesbrough, replied: “That is not correct.”

The trial continues.

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